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updated 7/18/2011 4:40:36 PM ET 2011-07-18T20:40:36

One of the Senate's staunchest budget-cutters unveiled Monday a massive plan to cut the nation's deficit by $9 trillion over the coming decade.

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The plan by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is laced with politically perilous proposals like raising to 70 the age at which people can claim their full Social Security benefits. It would cut farm subsidies, Medicare, student aid, housing subsidies for the poor, and funding for community development grants. Coburn even takes on the powerful veterans' lobby by proposing that some veterans pay more for medical care and prescription drugs.

Coburn was a member of President Barack Obama's fiscal commission and voted for its plan to cut the budget by about $4 trillion over a decade. He recently dropped out of the closely watched "Gang of Six" senators seeking a bipartisan agreement to rein in deficits and break through the partisanship engulfing official Washington over the deficit.

His re-entry into the deficit debate comes as Obama and lawmakers struggle over increasing the so-called debt limit and avoid a first-ever default on U.S. obligations.

Coburn's $9 trillion savings figure doesn't include another $2.4 trillion in cuts to Social Security that are funneled back into the program. In addition to raising the retirement age gradually, he would peg future benefits to a less-generous measure of inflation and curb benefit increases even more for the top 40 percent of earners.

Coburn would also eliminate $1 trillion in tax breaks over the coming decade, earning him an immediate rebuke from the Club for Growth, an anti-tax organization with which Coburn has had a running feud. He would curb the deductions homeowners take on mortgage interest and would ease taxpayers into higher tax brackets more quickly by using a smaller measure of inflation to adjust the brackets.

"I have no doubt that both parties will criticize portions of this plan, and I welcome that debate," Coburn told reporters. "But it's not a legitimate criticism until you have a plan of your own."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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